In accordance with section 523 of the FY1994 - 95Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Public Law No.103 -236
(with SECRET" attachment)
Dear Mr. Chairman:
In accordance with section 523 of the FY1994 - 95Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Public Law No.103 -236, I am pleased to submit on behalf of the secretary of state the report, "people's Mojahedin of Iran."
The Administration has welcomed the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of the people's Mojahedin of Iran. The U.S, Government has been monitoring the group's activities since the 1970s. We believe the report to be a balanced and comprehensive analysis.
Consideration of this issue suggests it may be appropriate to take this opportunity to restate the Administration's policy towards the government of Iran. We want to be clear that our conclusions about the Mojahedin do not in any way imply support for the behavior of the current regime in Iran. As you are aware, longstanding U.S policy on Iran has been based on an unvarying premise: Iran should not enjoy the benefits of normal, state-to-state relation with other countries so long as it acts in ways that fall outside generally understood patterns of acceptable government behavior.
lee H. Harrilton, Chairman,
Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives.
UNCLASSIFIED (with SECRET attachment)
Our record of objection to outlaw Iranian behavior is clear. We vigorously oppose Iran's support for terrorism, its efforts to block the Middle East peace process through violence, its attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and its dismal human rights record. Until Iran alters its behavior in these critical areas, we will continue to lead the world in pressuring Tehran. We must convince the regime that there is a price to be paid for flouting international standards.
We welcome the opportunity to brief the Congress on all aspects of our bilateral relations with Iran. You can be assured we will continue to monitor the activities of the Mojahedin. We remain, however, guided by the premise that our mutual distaste for the behavior of the regime in Tehran should not influence our analysis of the Mojahedin.
Wendy R. Shermen Assistant Secretary Legislative Affairs
Report on the people's Mojahedin of Iran
(with SECRET attachment)
PEOPLE'S MOJAHEDIN OF Iran
UNCLASSIFIED (with SECRET attachment) DECL: OADK
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(SECRET) DECL: OADR
The following report has been prepared at the request of congress. Section 525 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and1995 , public Law No.103 -256, requires the president to submit "a report detailing the structure, current activities, external support, and history of the people's Mojahedin of Iran . Such report shall include information on any current direct or indirect support by the people's Mojahedin for acts of international terrorism." The conference report noted that congress intended no prejudgment of the organization and urged the Administration to consult with a wide range of people in the preparation of the report.
Responsibility for preparing the report was delegated to the secretary of state by a presidential memorandum dated July26 ,1994 . Government agencies that contributed informational records, intelligence, analysis, and expertise to the report include: the Departments of state, Defense (including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the four military services), Justice, Treasury, and Transportation: the National Intelligence Council: the National Security Agency: and the central Intelligence Agency.
In preparing the report, we have consulted with a large cross-section of Iranian opposition groups and Iranian expatriates, including Mojahedin sympathizers. We obtained the viewpoints of prominent American academic specialists on Iran and the Middle East through personal interviews and research of their published works. We surveyed Iran experts at nongovernmental organizations and "think-tanks." We reviewed western media coverage of Mojahedin activities. Finally, we drew upon the voluminous collection of Mojahedin publications and radio broadcasts, a public record that ranges from the1960 s through October1994 .
The "Sazeman-e Mojahedin-e Khalq-e Iran," or Organization of people's Holy Warriors of Iran, is a militant Iranian opposition group. Its Persian name is generally shortened to the Mojahedin-e Khalq or the people's Mojahedin." The Mojahedin were established in Tehran, Iran, in1965 , by young, middle class intellectuals. The Mojahedin revolutionaries developed and disseminated an eclectic ideology based on their personal interpretation of Shi'a Islamic theology and Marxist tenets. Then as now the Mojahedin advocated a two-pronged strategy of armed struggle and the use of propaganda to gain their political objectives.
The Mojahedin collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the former Shah of Iran. As part of that struggle, they assassinated at least six American citizens, supported the takeover of the U.S. embassy, and opposed the release of American hostages. In the post-revolutionary political chaos, however, the Mojahedin lost political power to Iran's Islamic clergy. They then applied their dedication to armed struggle and the use of propaganda against the new Iranian government, launching a violent and polemical cycle of attack and reprisal. In1981 , the Mojahedin leadership fled to France and with other Iranian opposition movements formed the National Council of Resistance (NCR).
Yet within a few years the NCR became a mere shell as individuals and groups abandoned the organization because of Mojahedin domination. In1986 , France expelled the leader of the Mojahedin, Masud Rajavi. Rajavi was a member of the Mojahedin's original "Central Committee" and "Ideological Team." Imprisoned by the Shah's government from 1972-1979, he nonetheless remained influential within the group. He rose to command in 1975 after the Mojahedin experienced an internal schism. From his release from prison until today, he has maintained absolute control of the Mojahedin, the NCR, and its associated groups. In1993 , his wife Maryam Rajavi replaced him as the NCR's "future president" of Iran. Previously, she had held the appointed position of NCR secretary-general.
After his expulsion form France, Rajavi relocated to Baghdad, Iraq, adopting Saddam Hussein as his patron, In1987 .
*Acronyms commonly used for the group include "MKO," for Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, "MEK," for Mojahedin-e Khalq, and "PMOL," for people's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. The Iranian Mojahedin should not be confused with the Afghanistan Mojahedin, the indigenous Afghan forces formed to fight the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Rajavi announced the formation of the National Liberation Army (NLA), the military wing of the Mojahedin, which conducted raids into Iran during the latter years of the1980 - 1988Iran-Iraq war. The NLA's last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in1991 , when it joined Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion. In addition to occasional acts of sabotage, the Mojahedin are responsible for violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians. They also engage in violence against Iranian government targets in the West.
Since their leadership's expulsion from Iran, the Mojahedin have conducted a public relations campaign among Western press and public officials, seeking political support and financial backing. Exploiting Western opprobrium of the behavior of the current government of Iran, the Mojahedin posit themselves as the alternative. To achieve that goal, they claim they have the support of a majority of Iranians.
This claim is much disputed by academics and other specialists on Iran, who assert that in fact the Mojahedin-e Khalq have little support among Iranians. They argue that the Mojahedin's activities since the group's leadership fled from Iran in1981 -- particularly their alliance with Iraq and the group's internal oppression -- have discredited them among the Iranian polity. The clerical regime in Tehran, aware of the Mojahedin's unpopularity, attempts to discredit many of its opponents by falsely linking them to the MKO. The Mojahedin, for their part, often dismiss their critics as "agents of the regime.*
Despite Mojahedin assertions that the group has abandoned its revolutionary ideology and now favors a liberal democracy, there is no written or public record of discussion or debate about the dramatic reversals in the Mojahedin's stated positions. Moreover, the Mojahedin's 29-year record of behavior does not substantiate its capability or intention to be democratic. Internally, the Mojahedin run their organization autocratically, suppressing dissent and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints. Rajavi, who hesds the Mojahedin's political and military wings, has fostered a cult of personality around himself. These characteristics have alienated most Iranian expatriates, who assert they do not want to replace one objectionable regime for another. Given these attributes, it is no coincidence that the only government in the world that supports the Mojahedin politically and financially is the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein.
Shunned by most Iranians and fundamentally undemocratic, the Mojahedin-e Khalq are not a viable alternative to the current government of Iran.
Established to overthow the Shah, the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization (MKO) developed an eclectic ideological blend of Islam and Marxism that dictated both a war of armed struggle and a war of propaganda to achieve political power. Enthusiastic supporters of Khomeini, they were active participants in the Iranian revolution. By1981 , however, the MKO had lost the post-revolutionary power struggle to Iran's Shi'a Muslim clergy. They responded to this defeat by turning their two-pronged strategy of armed struggle and propaganda against the Khomeini regime. This section traces the Mojahedin's political history, from the group's establishment in 1965 to its expulsion from parts in1986 .
As young students opposed to the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the founding members of the Mojahedin rejected nonviolence reformism. Instead, they established an organization dedicated to armed struggle. As they explained in a 1974 newspaper article, "We had to ask ourselves the question, "What is to be done?" Our answer was straightforward: "Armed Struggle." 1 Commitment to this strategic principle has defined the history of the Mojahedin, from the group's formal establishment in 1965 until today,
The founders, who Kept the existence of the Mojahedin secret until1972 , organized members into compartmentalized cells subject to the suthority of a central collective. They devoted their early years to the study and discussion of revolutionary theory and economics, reading such authors as Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, and Frantz Fanon. They also analyzed Islamic history, interpreting early S h i ' i "i m as a protest movement against class exploitation and st''te oppression. 2The Mojahedin further were influenced by the teachings of Dr. Alt Shariati, a Contemporary Iranian academic who developed an ideology arguing that Islam, particularly Shi'a Islam, is fundamentally revolutionary in outlook.-^ The MKO also claimed that the revolutions of Algeria, Cuba, and Vietnam had inspired them. Moving from theory to action, they established contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization, and sent members for training at Palestinian camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
The Mojahedin's initial efforts to engage in armed struggle were ineffective. In1972 , after months of investigation, the Shah's internal security organization, SAVAK, arrested dozens of Mojahedin members who had unsuccessfully planned to blow up Tehran's main electrical Power Plant. They had hoped to disrupt the extravagant festivities the Shah sponsored in 1971 to celebrate the anniversary of2 , 500years of the monarchy. The government organized mass trials of the suspects, who responded by formally announcing that they were members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an organization which they had formed to resolve the "fundamental contradictions between the people and the ClA-imposed regime."4 The resulting executions and imprisonments of MKO members momentarily weakened the organization, but the survivors regrouped and restructured into an effective instrument of political violence. Even those imprisoned were active, forming communes, gaining recruits, and secretly coordinating with members who had escaped arrest. The Mojahedin's future leader, Masud Rajavi, utilized his time in Qasr prison (1972-79) to indoctrinate recruits and establish his authority. Outside prison, the Mojahedin responded to the government persecution by commencing armed operations.
Bombs were the Mojahedin's weapon of choice, which they frequently employed against American targets. On the occasion of President Nixon's visit to Iran in1972 , for example, the MKO exploded time bombs at more than a dozen sistes throughout Tehran, including the Iran-American Society, the U.S. information office, and the offices of Pepsi Cola and General Motors. From1972 -75, when an internal MKO upheaval and more regime arrests temporarily slowed down their activities; the Mojahedin continued their campaign of bombings, damaging such targets as the offices of Pan-American Airlines, Shell Oil Company, and British organizations. They also attacked police posts and prisons.
The MKO's embrace of armed struggle flows from the group's ideology. Its conceptual framework was painstakingly developed through years of study and discourse and aggressively disseminated throughout Tehran. A renowned scholar of the Mojahedin defines the group's ideology as: "a combination of Muslim themes: Shi'a notions of martyrdom: classical Marxist theories of class struggle and historical determinism: and neo-Marxist concepts of armed struggle, guerrilla warfare and revolutionary heroism."8 The adoption of Marxist tenets distinguished the Mojahedin from other Iranian opposition movements: the Mojahedin argued that the struggle against the Shah was part of a larger struggle against imperialism led by the, "world-devouring" United States.
The intellectual contradictions between Shi'a Islam and
Marxism, however, caused the Mojahedin to split in1975 . The organization broke drown into Marxist and Muslim factions. The
Muslim faction, under Rajavi's leadership, soon gained control of the organization. But the religious disagreement between the secular and Islamic factions of the MKO did not undermine their fundamental agreement on the issue of imperialism, nor their strategy of armed struggle against the Pahlavi regime and American interests in Iran. In fact, both factions continued to endorse armed resistance, making the Mojahedin "the single most violent underground group and the principal killers of U.S employees in Iran."
The Mojahedin's enduring consensus on foreign policy is demonstrated by public statements of the group's current leader, Masud Rajavi. At his sentencing during the 1972 trials, for example, Rajavi argued that most of the world's problems had been created by imperialism and that "the main goal now is to free Iran of U.S. imperialism." After his release from prison during the political chaos of January1979 , Rajavi delivered a series of lectures at the University of Tehran outlining the Mojahedin's program, which remained faithful to its Marxist roots.
Analysis of the Mojahedin's ideology is facilitated by examination of the group's own propaganda. Like their dedication to armed struggle, the Mojahedin's emphasis on propaganda reflects the influence of other revolutionaries, who sought both adherents and supporters through indoctrination, since its inception, the group has made drafting and disseminating propaganda a priority.
In 1968, the Mojahedin established an "Ideological Team" charged with providing the group with its own theoretical handbooks. In addition to these texts, the Mojahedin published newspapers, journals, and pamphlets. They also broadcast clandestine radio messages from Baghdad from 1972-75. Those MKO members imprisoned during the 1972 trials also prepared manifestos and proclamations for outside publication. The MKO carefully controlled the contents of these documents, requiring permission from the Central Committee before one could be issued under the Mojahedin name. After the 1979 revolution, under Hajavi's leadership, the MKO reorganized and launched a weekly newspaper, Mojahed. In February1979 -, the group issued a detailed fourteen-point program titled, "Our Minimal Expectations." Among other actions, it recommended that Iran cancel all agreements with "racist" state of Israel.
"DLATII TO AMERICA"
In the period leading up to the revolution and its immediate aftermath, the Mojahedin carried out their strategy of armed struggle. The results included the murder of Americans, support for the seizure of the U.S. embassy, and opposition to the release of U.S. hostages. The Mojahedin are known to have assassinated the following Americans in Iran during the1970 s:
Lt. Colonel Lewis L. Hawkins Killed: June2 , 1973
Air Force Colonel Paul Schaeffer Killed: May 21,1975
Air Force Lt. Colonel Jack Turner Killed: May21 ,1975
Donald G. Smith, Rockwell International Killed: August28 ,1976
Robert R. Krongrad, Rockwell International Killed: August28 ,1976
William C. Cottrell, Rockwell International Killed: August28 ,1976
Reza Reza'i, a member of the Mojahedin's Ideological Team, was arrested and executed by the Shah's government for the murder of Colonel Hawkins. The attacks on the Rockwell employees occurred on the anniversary of the arrest of a Mojahedin member, Rahman vahid Afrakhteh, for the murder of Colonels Schaeffer and Turner. In addition. Air Force Brigadier General Harold price was wounded in a 1972 attack Planned by Mojahedin Central committee member, Kazem Zul Ai-Anvar. Widely credited in Tehran for these attacks at the time, the Mojahedin themselves claimed responsibility for these murders in their publications.
Collaboration with Khomeini
Throughout 1977-79, the Shah, under international pressure, released political prisoners, including members of the Mojahedin. They played a significant part in the strikes and demonstrations that characterized that period. Like most anti-Shah elements, the Mojahedin fully supported Khomeini. When the Shah's army disintegrated in February1979 , the Mojahedin's guerrilla organizations played a critical role in fighting the remnants of the pahlavi regime, appropriating government weapons in. the process. Some observers claim the Mojahedin assisted in the identification, arrest, and execution of alleged supporters of the Shah's regime. Thousands of these
individuals, presumed to be opponents of the new Khomeini government, were sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khalkhali, the head of the Revolutionary Tribunal also Known as the "hanging judge."15
Mojahedin Support for Hostage-Taking
Under Rajavi's leadership, the Mojahedin entered the political fray in1979 , working to expand the group's membership and popularity. Mojahedin newspapers and proclamations published at the time confirm the group's leadership in renouncing the United States. The very day that 400 university students overtook the U.S. embassy, the Mojahedin issued a proclamation headlined, "After the Shah, it's America's turn."16 Following the seizure of the embassy, the Mojahedin participated physically at the site, assisting in holding and defending the embassy against liberation. They also offered political support for the hostage-Keeping. For example, the Mojahedin sent a telegram to Khomeini expressing allegiance to the Ayatollah's policy of "rooting out the aggressive, American imperialism of the traitorous Shah." The telegram closed with the following declaration: "(We are) awaiting the definitive command of the Imam (Khomeini) for uprooting all the imperialist and Zionist foundations.
The Mojahedin responded to the failed hostage rescue attempt by announcing in Mojahed that they had placed their "military units," "part-time guerrilla units" and "militia" at the disposal of the Revolutionary Guards to fight U.S. imperialism.18 After 444 days of captivity, the hostages were released in January1991 . The next issue of Mojahed reminded readers that "the Mojahedin-e Khalq were the first force who rose unequivocally to the support of the occupation of the American spy center," and further noted that Mojahedin members spent "days and weeks," "in neat and cold," in front of the embassy in an effort to ensure that the occupied embassy was "an active and zealous anti-imperialist center." It described the release of the nostages as a "retreat" and "surrender" and warned that resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States would be "treason to the people and to the blood of our martyrs."19
By 1981, the opposition groups which had formed the base of the popular uprising against the Shah had lost the post-revolutionary power struggle to Khomeini and his new regime. The anti-clerical Islamic theology espoused by the Mojahedin ensured the group's disenfranchisement. Like dismissed president Abol Hassan Bani Sadr, they had failed in secure a position in the new political structure. Although Rajavi and Bani Sadr fled to parts in July1981 , the Mojahedin resumed their strategy of armed struggle internally. Only the target had changed. Against Khomeini, whom the Mojahedin had supported for more than15 years, they now declared war.
The Mojahedin initiated a wave of bombings and assassinations against the Khomeini regime that reverberates today. The most spectacular attack occurred June28 ,1981 , when two bombs ripped apart the headquarters of the Islamic Republic party (IRP, the party of the clerics), killing 74 members of the regime's top leadership, including the IRP's leader, Ayatollah Beheshti, 14ministers, and 27 Majles deputies. On August30 , the Mojahedin reportedly bombed a meeting of the regime's National Security Council, Killing the new president, Alt Raja'i, and his new prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar. In September, the Mojahedin engaged in direct military clashes with the government's forces but were defeated. Throughout the next few years, the Mojahedin assassinated Majlis candidates and members, clerics, judges, and others they identified as foes. The group also detonated bombs in Tehran and throughout the country.2" The swath of terror cut by the MKO was matched by an equally ruthless response from the Khomeini regime, many of whose current leaders -- including Rafsanjani and Khamene'i -- were injured in these attacks. The regime hunted down and indiscriminately executed thousands of purported Mojahedin supporters.
During this period the Mojahedin and the Khomeini regime also established what was to become a defining characteristic of their cycle of violent attacks and reprisals. The Mojahedin selectively claimed credit for terrorist acts, identifying only with those incidents whose outcome they determined would enhance their image, the government, on the other hand, named the MKO for every act of violence. While the record has been obscured by hyperbole, it is important to remember that --particularly during the early1980 's -- the Mojahedin maintained both the willingness. and the capability to carry out their violent objectives.2' Moreover, since 1981the MKO themselves have claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of Iranians they describe as" agents of the regime."22
RISE AND FALL:
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE
. Arriving in Paris in1981, the Mojahedin and Bani Sadr established the National Council of Resistance (NCR). Exhilarated by the apparent weakness of the Khomeini regime, which was struggling with the internal instability generated by Mojahedin terrorism and the external threat posed by Iraq's 1980 invasion, the NCR initially included many elements of the Iranian opposition. Groups such as the Kurdish Democratic party of Iran, the National Democratic Front, the Hoviyat Group (an offshoot of a militant leftist group, the Fedayeen), the Union of Iranian Communists, the Workers' Party, the Union for Workers' Liberation, the United Left Council for Democracy and Independence, and other leftist organizations joined the NCR.
In an early demonstration if its intolerance for dissent, the Mojahedin refused to allow the participation of the Liberation Movement (also known as the Freedom Party), a prominent liberal opposition group- The Mojahedin also refused the membership of the Fedayeen and Tudeh (Communist) party. Other resistance groups were wary of the Mojahedin's brand of revolutionary Islam. The National Front (Mossadeq's nationalist party ) refused to join the Council because it objected to the concept of Islamic government. Two other Marxist organizations, which similarly objected to the religious aspect of the Mojahedin's ideology, also refused to join.
Additionally, the NCR boasted the support of organizations already controlled by the Mojahedin, including the Muslim Student Association, the Tawhidi Society of Guilds, the Movement of Muslim Teachers, the Union of Instructors in Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning, and the„. Society for the Defense of Democracy and Independence in Iran.
The early promise of the NCR as an effective resistance front soon receded, however. Defying the initial expectations of most observers, the Khomeini regime regained control and expanded its power, In Paris; the non-Mojahedin members of the NCR encountered the autocratic style of Rajavi. In particular, Rajavi's unilateral decision to tie the Council to Iraq alienated the others, who viewed the alliance as a traitor's deed. The Council's most important participant, former president Bani Sadr, formally split in1984 , castigating Rajavi as "a pawning the settlement of the Iran-Iraq conflict." (Bani Sadr asserts that the first formal pact between the Mojahedin and Iraq was negotiated during a January 1983 meeting between Rajavi and Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz in Fragce. Mojahedin publications also confirm this meeting.)
RED CARPET IN BAGHDAD
In June 1986, France forced Rajavi to leave the country in what the media speculated was a deal with the government of Iran. According to these reports, Rajavi's departure was the price France Paio for the release of French hostages in Lebanon. The MKO portrayed the, ouster as Rajavi's "historic flight for peace and freedom." Rajavi's former attorneys, an Iranian jurist then resident in France, explained the move:
"When Rajavi came to France, he and his supporters quickly ran out of money. The Iraqi government offered him support and they accepted. In the long run, they became proxies of the Iraqi regime and lost much of their credibility within Iran." Military scholar Anthony Cordesman offered another analysis: "The end result of trance's action, however, was to give Rajavi much better access to arms, training facilities near the border, and much larger financial resources."28
According to press reports, more than1 , 000Mojahedin members joined Rajavi in his relocation to Baghdad, where in a mocking gesture to the government of Iran, the Iraqis marked his arrival by hosting the type of ceremony normally accorded to a visting government leader. The Mojahedin's dedication to armed struggle had turned a new corner.
II. CORRENT ACTIVITIES
Evidence of the Mojahedin's dual strategy of armed struggle and propaganda is visible not only in the group's publications and history but in its recent performance, as well. The following section traces Mojahedin operations in these two areas since the Mojahedin's flight from Iran in 1981 through its activities today. The group's most significant act during this time period was its1986 relocation to Baghdad.
PERSIANS AMONG ARABS
After Rajavi relocated to Baghdad in June1986 , he drew upon Iraq's assistance to create the National l-be rationing Army (NLA), which was formally established in1987 . Subsequent reports indicated that Baghdad "Provided training facilities and staging grounds for the (NLA) unit's operations, as well as headquarters facilities in the Iraqi capital." One Western reporter trekked to Baghdad in 1988 to gauge the progress of the Mojahedin since their expulsion from France. He noted the Mojahedin's "softened ideology and assertions of battlefield prowess," and described their two-part strategy for gaining power. "The first (element), a military campaign, is supposed to establish the credibility of the Mojahedin, or Warriors of God. Another element ... is a political and propaganda drive designed to revise its anti-American history and to blur its near-total dependence on cooperation with Baghdad. Iran's enemy and the base of its military operations."
To conduct a military campaign whose-.threat to Iran has been derisively compared to a "mosquito," the Mojahedin developed a lopsided alliance with Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Dependent upon Saddam for money, arms, bases (approximately five), and permission to strike, the Mojahedin's "National Liberation Army" became a tool in Iraq's conflict with Iran. in 1984 and1987 , for example, the Iraqi government cast ceasefire proposals as-a response to the requests of the "peace-loving" Rajavi. This exercise in public diplomacy was designed to undercut the Iranian government's internal support. The Mojahedin's actual military efforts have consisted of occasional strikes against border towns, industrial targets (particularly oil installations), and civilian targets.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
At the border
The Mojahedin's military record is limited. The group launched its most significant incursion in June and July1988 , when they coordinated an advance into Iran with Iraqi forces. During the same offensive, Iraqi units in other sectors of the front used chemical weapons against Iran. NLA units briefly seized the Iranian border towns of Mehran, Karand, and Islamabad-e Gharb. The Mojahedin claimed to have killed40 ,000 Iranians, but other military observers said the, NLA "just got wiped out" when Iranian reinforcements arrived. The U.N-brokered ceasefire between Iran and Iraq, which went into effect August20 ,1988 , undercut the Mojahedin's utility to Saddam. But the Mojahedin remained in Iraq. "Mojahedin have learned to take proper tactics hen and if necessary," one MKO spokesman said when questioned about the group's future in Iraq after the war. "We have always adjusted tactics in our fighting. The form of fighting is secondary."
In March1991 , following Operation Desert Storm, the NLA reportedly fought against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards near the border town of Qasr-e Shirin. Analysts assume that Saddam permitted the NLA to cross into Iran at this time in order to signal that he would not tolerate Iranian support for a Shi'a uprising in southern Iraq. At that tine, the Iraqi Kurds also claimed the Mojahedin had assisted the Iraqi army in its suppression of the Kurds, "a claim-substantiated by refugees who fled near the Iranian border." The leader of the patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, told reporters that "5, 000Iranian Mojahedin joined Saddam's forces in the battle for Kirkuk." A recent Wall Street Journal report stated that the NLA's "only major offensive in the past six years came in 1991, just after the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein ordered Mr. Rajavi to help quell a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq, participants in that operation say." A former MKO member who was in Iraq said his trouble with the Mojahedin leadership, began when he questioned the MKO's operation against the Kurds.
In April1992 , Iran bombed the MKO's primary base, Ashraf, locat
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